Accumulation of microbial DNAs promotes to islet inflammation and β cell abnormalities in obesity in mice

Hong Gao, Zhenlong Luo, Yudong Ji, Kechun Tang, Zhongmou Jin, Crystal Ly, Dorothy D. Sears, Sushil Mahata, Wei Ying

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Various microbial products leaked from gut lumen exacerbate tissue inflammation and metabolic disorders in obesity. Vsig4+ macrophages are key players preventing infiltration of bacteria and their products into host tissues. However, roles of islet Vsig4+ macrophages in the communication between microbiota and β cells in pathogenesis of obesity-associated islet abnormalities are unknown. Here, we find that bacterial DNAs are enriched in β cells of individuals with obesity. Intestinal microbial DNA-containing extracellular vesicles (mEVs) readily pass through obese gut barrier and deliver microbial DNAs into β cells, resulting in elevated inflammation and impaired insulin secretion by triggering cGAS/STING activation. Vsig4+ macrophages prevent mEV infiltration into β cells through a C3-dependent opsonization, whereas loss of Vsig4 leads to microbial DNA enrichment in β cells after mEV treatment. Removal of microbial DNAs blunts mEV effects. Loss of Vsig4+ macrophages leads to microbial DNA accumulation in β cells and subsequently obesity-associated islet abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number565
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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